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This Christmas was very different for me than many others. This was the first Christmas in memory that I did not spend any time in my hometown for. I did see family on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but the differences were striking.

Alternatively, this was the first Christmas I have spent entirely in my new home in Redlands. I spent time with friends in the morning, then church, then family, then friends again. The diversity of experiences was a lot of fun.

Mostly, though, I found myself meditating and thinking about what was really going on. As my thoughts often turned to those alone this last weekend, I was continually reminded of the reason this holy day exists. Christmas is exactly that; the Christ Mass where the Christian Church celebrates God drawing near to us in Jesus Christ. The season of the Christ Mass started on Sunday and will last until January 6, Epiphany (unless you are of the Eastern Orthodox persuasion). The season when our culture celebrates Christmas is truly Advent, where we are invited to meditate on those things we need Jesus to draw near to us for.

What I found myself thinking of is the ways Jesus has been hoped for and how He has come to answer those hopes. My hopes of late have been for continued healing of the wounds I have confronted these last two years. In the last week, I have been reminded not of the healing that still remains ahead of me, but of the healing that has already taken place and the good things that have come from it: an increased trust in those around me, friendships slowly restoring themselves to greater glory and richness, and courage to take on new possibilities and explore the many doors that they open.

I wonder what others have thought of these last weeks. How has the season left you? How has the year changed you?

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